We’re back with some great films

Buy ticketsBuy tickets online or on the door . Tickets £5.

Film dates this Spring are:

Saturday June 3

Jackie

USA 2016, 97 minutes, 15 certificate
Directed by Pablo Larrain, starring Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Billy Crudup, John Hurt, Greta Gerwig, John Carroll Lynch

Why do we remember Jackie Kennedy? The mention of her name still evokes images of the perfect First Lady, ever camera-ready, a fashion plate, cool and poised by the President’s side. Or the darker vision of a grainy shock of incongruous pink crawling across the back of a limousine as her husband lay dying on the back seat, his skull shot open by Lee Harvey Oswald. We remember her visually, yet what did she do? Pablo Larraín’s insightful biopic draws her as a woman whose purpose was to frame history. Not to create it in any political sense, but to package it for the people, to make it memorable.

Jackie’s timeline cuts across just a small number of days. It begins a few weeks after JFK’s assassination, with Jackie (Portman) inviting a reporter (Crudup) to her home to interview her. She’ll only allow him to print quotes she approves, insisting after a sobbing account of watching her husband die, “I hope you don’t for one second think I’ll allow you to publish that.” Then we cut back and forth across the days just before her husband’s murder to his grand spectacle of a funeral, as Jackie attempts – in the throes of her grief – to secure Jack’s legacy and her own.

The excellent cast includes a brief but typically powerful final performance from John Hurt, and Natalie Portman gives the best performance of her career. She has Jackie’s precise vowel0s and stiff , Stepford walk, but this isn’t imitation. She shows the steel and fragility under the surface of a woman who can stand up to the government to demand the funeral she wants, but also stagger around the White House drunkenly trying on all her old gowns in an effort to control things in the only way she knows how, by deciding how they will look.

Shot in almost constant close-up, perhaps to convey just how closely Jackie was watched, Larraín doesn’t give Portman a second to relax. You couldn’t avert your eyes if you wanted to. There’s a moment when Jackie says, “The people on the pages of history books become more real to us than those who stood beside us.” Film does much the same. Whether this is an accurate portrait of the woman or not, Jackie brings its subject to vivid life. It does what the very best biopics should: it makes you view someone you’ve seen countless times as if you were seeing them anew. View trailer here.

Our notes are based on the Empire online review

June 9: Graduation

Details to follow, tickets are now on sale